Dangerous Roads we Have!?

The Skippers Canyon road outside Queenstown in the South Island was earlier this year listed as one of the 22 most dangerous in the world. Driving Experiences, a UK based company, gave the road a fear factor of 7 out of 10.

Rental car terms and conditions specifically state that rental vehicles  are not allowed on New Zealand beaches and the Skippers Canyon Road.

View, from my passenger seat, Skippers Canyon road to river below.


Some sharp turns.

This NZ Harold article has a pretty nice photo (much better than my own).

(#6 of 100)

Did you know, there are No Snakes in New Zealand?

It is perhaps more accurate to state that there are officially no snakes in New Zealand, neither native nor introduced.

There is however the odd reported sighting (but no trapping) of what appears to be Victorian Copperhead on the West Coast of the South Island.


(Image – not a Copperhead, this fella is better looking.)

Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica)

 This photo taken at the Addo Raptor and Reptile center. I was unable to find them on the web. The Colonial on Arundel Bed & Breakfast have some information.


(#5 of 100)

Had a bite of your national symbol lately?

At least 20 nations eat their national animal (several types of fish,  deer, elk, alpaca, camel, pheasant, oryx, bison, gazelle , rabbit, kangaroo and cattle).

From time-to-time, a Kiwi (New Zealander) would remark in rather disapproving tone, “they [Australians] are the only nation to eat their national animal”  (Kangaroo).

South Africans would know this to be untrue as eating Springbok is even captured in song “… gee my Springbok biltong, gee my boer beskuit, gee my lekker koffie …”.

From commentary on the web it looks like the “boast” of being the only nation to eat their national symbol might be of Australian origin.

Irrespective of the source, nations who eat their national animal is not in short supply.

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) on alert.

This photo taken at Witzenberg Game Park outside Wolseley, South Africa.

(#4 of 100)

Seven meters of rain a year!

Fiordland, New Zealand’s largest national park, in the south west corner of the south island is one of the highest rainfall areas in the world.

As much as 8,000 mm (average of around 7,000 mm) of rain will fall in a year and rain will fall on more than 200 days of the year.


Rainwater runoff cascading into the ocean below, Doubtful Sound, New Zealand.

Department of conservation (DOC) info on Fiordland.

(#2 of 100)

Did you know – owls have three eyelids?

Yes, they have three eyelids (per eye).

They have a normal upper lid that closes downwards when the owl blinks, a lower lid that closes upwards when the owl is asleep and a third translucent eyelid that closes diagonally across the eye to moisten and protect it while maintaining vision.

This third eyelid is called a nictitating membrane and can be seen in the left hand side eye of this Spotted Eagle Owl.

Spotted Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus) with nictitating membrane (left hand side eye) in mid blink.

This photo was taken at Eagle Encounters at the Spier wine farm outside Stellenbosh, Western Cape, South Africa.

A comprehensive owl website;  the Owl Pages.

(#1 of 100)

100 Days Project

Over the next 100 days I will post an interesting fact relating to the  subject of one of our photos on a daily basis.

Back Story:

Earlier in the year, our staff intranet drew attention to the 100 days project.

In essence, it is about choosing one creative exercise, and then repeating it every day for 100 days. I did not pay much attention to it at the time.

Some weeks ago we suffered a hard drive failure here at home (yes, I managed to recover everything).  As I worked through a review of my backup process and hundreds of archived photographs the connection was made and I thought I’ll give it a shot.

Here then follows 100 (or so) interesting (at least to me) facts  relating to the subject of some of our photos.